11 Essential Skills Every Home Cook Should Learn
If you are a beginner home cook that is just starting out in your kitchen, you might feel submerge or intimidated, but understand that cooking is similar to other things you are learning: The more time you spend practicing cooking, the better you will get at doing it. Feel like it’s too late to start? It’s never too late to learn how to cook up something delicious at home in your own kitchen. One of my biggest inspirations would be Julia Child, who didn’t understand how to prepare food until she was in her fifties!
When you are not used to using pots and pans, paring knifes, strainers, and peelers and spatulas, begin by acquiring these novice home cooking skills. After that, build your groundwork and broaden your culinary skills by playing around with new dishes and recipes that interest your taste buds. Listed below are the 11 essential skills every home cook should learn. These are the basic tips, for more detailed instructions you can read them through our blog.
1. Learn How To Read And Follow A Recipe
Following a well written recipe should be very easy and inspirational. Usually there are two parts in a recipe: first should be the ingredients checklist and then follow by the step by step instructions on how to cook the dish. Usually the ingredients are listed in the order you will need them for the recipe. If olive oil and chopped onions are the first 2 ingredients on the list, you will use cooking with these 2 ingredients first.
It’s smart to go through the recipe before you start cooking and not simply reading it minutes before, but read through the recipe the moment you want to try it and then make plans to cook it. For example, in the event that you learn to make a beef short rib recipe that will require four hours of braising at 6:30 in the evening, you will not be eating supper until after 10:30 at night.
Imagine if you’ve found an incredible recipe for a roast prime rib and intend to serve it to your family within an hour? Then only after you get to step five of the recipe, will you find out the prime rib needs to be marinated for a few hours before putting it in the oven… and then what now? Prevent these beginner mistakes from happening by reading through the recipe early.
2. Learn How To Properly Dice An Onion
There’s a properly technique to dice an onion. This technique can be utilized for dicing other vegetables as well. Once you master dicing onions, you should feel comfortable using a knife already. Use a very sharp chef’s knife in order to get the best results.
3. Learn How To Season Food.
Learning how to season food properly is an essential skill to make your food taste good.
A pinch of salt and freshly grind black pepper should be put into practically all your food.
You shouldn’t be afraid to play around with other seasonings as well: A little bit of paprika can provide a depth in flavor to soups and adds a great smokey flavor to meats, a nice curry mix take your dish into a whole new level in flavor, and Chinese five spice can turn any meat stir fry full of flavor. Learning to widen your use of spices is what turns an average home cook into a great one.
4. Learn How to Cook Scramble Eggs
Eggs can be cooked in 5 different ways: boiled, baked, pan fried, poached, and, the easiest way, scrambled. To cook scrambled eggs, crack open the eggs in a dish and until very frothy. Melt some butter over medium heat then add the eggs and cook it slowly and stirring it often. Scramble eggs can be very versatile when it comes to mixing it. You can add cheese, bacon, peppers, scallions, chives, ham, veggies, herbs, or anything at all, the combination is endless.
5. Learn How To Cook Rice
If you make rice at home often like me, you will want to invest in a rice cooker, it just makes life so much easier. But if you like to cook things the old fashion way, you can use a stove top. Cooking rice on the stove top actually taste better, it will give a slight smokey flavor as well as crust at the bottom of the pan. Most Asians like to cook rice this way and then add some soup broth and bring the crust to a boil to eat.
Cooking most rice you will use 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice. Usually half a cup of rice will serve a single person pretty well, adjust accordingly.
Follow these steps to cook the rice on the stove:
- Bring the water to a boil in a sauce pan.
- Add the rice and stir it with a pinch of salt, you can also add butter if you like, then bring the temperature back to a simmer.
- Cover and cook the rice on a low heat and make sure you DO NOT take off the lid when the rice is still cooking. If you uncover the lid, the steam will get out and throw off the timing, it will also effect your end result of the rice. It’s best to use a clear cover so you can see the progress of the rice.
- It takes about 18 minutes to cook white rice and 30 minutes to cook brown rice, there should be instructions on the box depending on the type of rice you use. The rice should be done with it is light and fluffy. If the rice is gummy, it’s either not done yet or you added too much water.
- Once the rice is done, let it seat for a few mins in the pot covered, this will steam the rice a little more.
- Then use a spoon and mix the rice a little then let it seat for a few more minutes before serving.
- Left over rice can be store in the refrigerator, just make sure you add a little bit of water before heat it back up. You can also use that rice to make the perfect fried rice.
6. Learn How To Sear Protein
How you sear your food will have a big impact on the flavor of your protein. Searing meats, fish and some other types of seafood like scallops, in a skillet on high heat. This produces a very flavorful crust or delicious crispy skin.
Follow these three simple steps to create the perfect crust for meats:
- Make sure the meat is at room temperature before cooking, if you take the food out of the fridge and cook it right away, it will cook unevenly.
- Heat up the pan and then add some oil until you see a little smoke.
- Add the meat in the man, it’s very important that you do not move the meat around, you want to let it seat and sear for a few minutes until golden brown. Once it’s golden brown you then flip it and sear the other side.
To cook Fish, you want to heat the skillet to high with oil, then bring it down to a medium when cooking. It’s crucial that you cook skin side down first until the skin is crispy then you flip it and cook the other side of the fish. When plating, DO NOT put anything on top of the skin, like sauces or soggy veggies, so the skin can stay crispy.
7. Learn How To Roast Vegetables.
A lot of people choose to steamed or blanched vegetables as a side dish for their main or make a salad, but a good home cook understands that you get the most flavor from roasting.
Follow the following steps to roast vegetables:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Make sure you cut the vegetables around same size so they can cook evenly.
- In a large bowl, mix all your vegetables together with oil or butter, salt & pepper or any other seasonings you would like to use.
- Make sure all the vegetables are coated evenly with seasoning, then spread it evenly on a roasting pan.
- Cook the vegetables until tender and golden brown, stir it every 10 mins will help cook it evenly. The cooking time varies depending on the vegetables you use and the size you cut them in. Vegetables like mushrooms, peppers, and broccoli only takes about 15+20 mins. Root vegetables like potatoes, beets, carrots & butter nut squash will take about 40 to 50 mins.
8. Learn How to Cook a Whole Roast Chicken
Roasting a chicken is definitely one of the essential skills every home cook should learn to master. If done correctly, it is an impressive dish to make for your friends & family. Everyone loves a great roast chicken, it’s the perfect comfort food and it’s actually a very easy dish to make. When trying to impress with your roast chicken make sure you buy the best quality chicken you can afford.
To start, it’s very important that your chicken is very dry, and seasoned properly with salt and pepper. You will need to season the chicken on both the outside as well as the insides. If you want extra flavor, you can stuff the insides of the chicken with some herbs, garlic and butter.
Then brush the chicken with butter or olive oil and set in a roasting pan. If you’re worried about presentation, use kitchen strings and tie up the legs. Then toss in some rosemary or thyme, garlic and lemon into the roasting pan.
Bake for about 1 hour to an hour and 15 mins at 400F. After an hour put a thermometer in the chicken and see if it’s cooked. The chicken is cooked at 165 F. Once the chicken is cooked, take it out and let it rest for about 15 mins before serving. This will allow the juice to settle before carving.
9. Learn How To Make a Warm Cheesy Sandwich
Have you ever had a grill cheese sandwich that don’t even have gooey melted cheese? There is nothing worst, it’s virtually a crime to ruin what would of been a perfectly good grill cheese sandwich!
There’s two critical elements to making a perfect melted sandwich. The bread need to be crispy on the outside and the inside should be fill with hot gooey melted cheese. Follow these steps to make the perfect melted cheese sandwich:
- Should utilize grated cheese rather than sliced cheese because grated cheese melts perfectly and faster compare to sliced cheese.
- Prepare the sandwich over medium heat, this will allow the cheese to melt without burning the bread.
- Just like scramble eggs, you should be creative when filling the sandwich. You can literally fill it with any meat, veggies and herbs into the cheesy sandwich.
You can use this exact same technique to cook quesadillas as well.
10. Learn How To Cook Pasta
Making pasta is one of the easiest ways to make supper for your family. Most people probably know how to cook the pasta by following the directions on the package. But is what you do with the cooked pasta that really matters in the end.
The most important element in making pasta is definitely the sauce. Every pasta dish should have a great sauce, this is what makes or breaks the dish. Find a great sauce recipe and use it for your pasta dish.
Put the cooked pasta in the sauce right away. This is actually the traditional Italian way to cook pasta. Rather than straining the pasta, use some tongs or draining spoon to scoop the pasta out of the boiling water. Then put the pasta directly into the sauce and toss them together.
Once the sauce is coated throughout the pasta, garnish it with some herbs, grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Your delicious supper is now ready to be served!
11. Learn How To Make A Cocktail Drink
A cocktail is always a great way to unwind after a hard days work. When coming up with a cocktail, it’s important that you always measure out the Ingredients. Making cocktails is almost like banking which is very technical. Follow these steps to make the perfect cocktail
- Add all measured ingredients into a cocktail shaker, then add the ice. The drink won’t get diluted if all the ingredients are put in before the ice.
- Shake the cocktail aggressively for half a minute. The ice will start to chip and you will be able to see the condensation outside the shaker.
- Once your done shaking, strain the cocktail into a glass and enjoy!
These are the 11 essential skills every home cook should earn. For more detail information please go through our site to learn more.